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Good Sleep Helps You Lose Weight, Study Suggests

Jan 29th, 2013

Sleep Helps You Lose WeightProper sleep helps you lose weight and may be the best weapon you have to fight obesity. A number of studies suggest that having a good sleep routine is important to help lose some weight. A study from the Mayo Clinic shows that sufficient sleep is needed to keep our calorie intake on track. “Research shows that when people are sleep deprived there are changes inside the brain and this could be driving them to eat more,” says study co-investigator, Dr. Andrew Calvin. They found that those who slept 80 minutes less than the control group consumed 550 more calories each day.

Lack of sleep interferes with carbohydrate metabolism and elevates the glucose levels in the body. As a result, more fat will be stored. It also drives down leptin levels, which causes the body to crave carbohydrates. Previous studies have shown that after just a few days of sleep restriction, the hormones that control appetite cause people to become hungrier. These hormones are leptin and ghrelin.

Ghrelin is produced by the digestive system, stimulates appetite, increases fat production and makes your body grow. Leptin, produced in fat cells, sends a signal to the brain when you are full. Leptin’s levels run high during the night, which tells your body while you are sleeping that you don’t need to eat. Its levels drop during the day when you need food as energy. “When you have sleep deprivation and are running on low energy, you automatically go for a bag of potato chips or other comfort foods,” says Susan Zafarlotfi, PhD, clinical director of the Institute for Sleep and Wake Disorders at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey.

As published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, an accumulating body of evidence suggests that sleeping habits should not be overlooked in obesity. Sleeping poorly can have a range of side effects that impact on our weight. It can lead to poor food choices and lack of energy to exercise. We know that lack of quality sleep can cause several health problems, but we seldom take steps to find a solution.

When sleep doesn’t come easy, it is time to do something about it. Set yourself up with a regular sleeping routine. “Our sleep habits are very important determinants of good or bad sleep. If you get this right, everything else will fall into place,” says Dr. Timothy J. Sharp, author of The Good Sleep Guide. “Don’t worry about how many hours of sleep you get, but how you feel when you open your eyes in the morning,” he says.

Source: VISTA Health Solutions

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